Space Palette – A New Visual Music Instrument


The Space Palette is a musical and graphical instrument that lets you play music and paint visuals simultaneously by waving your hands in the portals of a wood frame. No pre-recorded media, sequences, or loops are used – everything is generated in real time by your hands.

The wood frame is a reference for the player, while the Microsoft Kinetic is used to detect the position of whatever hands (or objects) appear in the portals of the frame. The depth of your hands matters as much as their left/right/up/down position – it’s like having multiple three-dimensional mouse pads in mid-air. Any number of hands can be used.

Musically, the large portals are like piano keyboards (left-to-right) on which you strum individual notes, and hand depth controls things like vibrato and filters. Visually, the large portals allow you to paint with graphical shapes (heavily processed by visual effects), and hand depth controls their size.

The 12 small portals in the corners of the Space Palette are used to select different sets of sounds and graphics.

Each of the 4 large portals plays a different sound and paints a different graphic, simultaneously.There is no limit to the number of hands that can be playing the Palette at once.

The Space Palette’s hardware and software configuration was created by musician, artist, and tech wizard, Tim Thompson.

The structure and sculptural components were created by master sculptor, Paul Sable.